January 24, 2013

2013 WRC Rally Monte Carlo Review

Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elana in 2013 Rally Monte Carlo January 17, 2013.
Photo © Unknown - From Motorsport.com .

The 2013 World Rally Championship season started with Rally Monte Carlo, for the second straight year. The principality of Monaco was the start and finish ceremonies host, but base camp was located a few hundred miles north, in Valence, France. Sixteen lengthy asphalt stages made up this extra-long rally (originally 465 km / 289 mi over 18 stages), which was run in the eastern border regions of Rhône-Alpes and Alpes-Côte d'Azur from January 15 through January 19, 2013, during increasingly severe winter weather. Stages 17 and 18 were cancelled for safety reasons.

The top three drivers to complete the rally were: 2012 WRC champion, Sébastien Loeb (France) of Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT was the first winner of this season; in second was Sébastien Ogier (France) from Volkswagen Motorsport, and finishing third, Dani Sordo (Spain). Sordo has returned to Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT for 2013.

Since I didn't do a season preview for 2013, here are a couple links that provide information on most of the very major (and disappointing) changes for this year. With the lack of manufacturer support from Ford and Mini, there has been some serious rearranging, in the form of team changes and driver changes.

Former WRC champion (2003) driver, Petter Solberg (Norway), will not be participating this year. He drove for factory Ford World Rally Team last year, but they decided not to fund anybody in 2013. Solberg (always one of the top drivers) has said he came close to making a deal with Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team in December 2012, but they didn't quite come to terms.

In the end though, we haven't lost any car brands. In fact, there has been expansion. It's a matter of changes in sponsorship, teams taking on third cars and a few sattilite teams, and Volkswagen entering as a manufacturer team.

This 2013 season opening event review includes (in chronological order) links to WRC.com recap posts and highlights videos.

Loeb claims seventh Monte-Carlo victory
Posted at WRC.com on January 19, 2013

A dramatic final evening of Rallye Monte-Carlo ended with the cancellation of the last two stages to enable Sebastien Loeb to claim his seventh victory in the opening round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship...

Citroen boss hails Monte winners
Posted at WRC.com on January 20, 2013

Yves Matton, the boss of Citroen Racing, has paid tribute to his drivers for winning this week's Rallye Monte-Carlo and putting four of the firm's DS3 world rally cars in the top five...

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